ALICE COOPER Says He Has No Plans To Retire Anytime Soon
On his current tour:
Alice: "It's been going great. This band is the best band I've ever worked with, my touring band, so every night is fun. It's just fun to do it, every single night. We do 28 songs in the show from all the different albums. We're starting to do some songs from the new album, from 'Paranormal'. So every night we have to rehearse different songs because we're changing the show up and down all the time."
On his take on the long-running debate whether classic rock and metal bands should only focus on their "hits" and not focus on playing new material live:
Alice: "I think you have to do the hits for the audience. I think the audience wants to hear 'School's Out' and 'Poison' and 'Man Behind The Mask', all those songs. We try to do a couple of songs that they're not expecting at all. You try to do songs like 'Feed My Frankenstein' where you have a lot of theatrics and we do the whole thing with the guillotine and straightjacket and the nurse and snake and the whole thing. There's certain songs we have to do in order to get all of those songs in. At the same time, the audience never complains; they love the way the show goes."
On whether he still gets excited about writing new music:
Alice: "I think that's what it is that I've always been in the business, to create new music and to do shows for audiences. Just because we don't get the kind of sales that we used to get in the '70s — well, nobody gets those sales anymore except for Beyoncé [Knowles] and Justin Bieber. It's just a different era. I make albums now for my fans. There's millions of Alice Cooper fans around the world, so I make albums for them. I don't expect to sell five million albums. I expect to sell to the audience that loves Alice Cooper music. I think that the real fans don't want to just live on the old music, I think they want to hear new music. I think that's why I make albums and I think it's why [Paul] McCartney makes albums and THE ROLLING STONES. We're now in the habit of writing music and making sure the audience hears it."
On bringing members of his original '70s band back to play on some songs for "Paranormal":
Alice: We've always been friends. We were never enemies. Neal [Smith, drums], Dennis [Dunaway, bass], Mike [Bruce, guitars] and I were always friends together. They called me up, they knew I was doing a new album. They said they got songs, I said 'Okay, great!' I said 'Let's hear them.' We listened to three of the songs and we thought the three songs we were listening to were really good. So I brought the band in, the original band in, and they were great. They really did a great job."
On how he selects guest musicians for his albums:
Alice: "You have your core people working: [producer] Bob Ezrin, myself and [collaborator] Tommy Denander and [guitarist] Tommy Henriksen. We would sit and write songs and all of the sudden we would play back the demo and I'd say 'Wow, do you know who needs to be on this? Billy Gibbons [ZZ TOP] needs to play lead on this because it's a perfect Billy Gibbons song.' So we'd call him up and say, 'What are you doing?' He says 'Send the track over.' And I sent it over and he plays on it. It's a perfect combination. With [U2 drummer] Larry Mullen, Bob Ezrin said 'Let's get a different sound for the bottom of this album. Let's not just go to what we normally do. Let's think outside the box. Let's get a different sound for it.' When you use a drummer that's a very artistic drummer like Larry Mullen, he's going to bring something to the table that's a lot different than what you're normally going to get. That's what we got. We got a really cool sound out of him. He does it very differently than anybody else."
On whether "Paranormal" will be his final album:
Alice: "Oh, no. I'm already writing songs for the HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES album. After that, it will be another ALICE COOPER album. I don't ever consider retiring. Retirement doesn't seem to fit in… If I was getting onstage and I was tired and if I was kind of phoning it in and my band was kind of lazy, it would be different. But I've never had a band or a show as high-energy as this show. It actually keeps me very much in shape and keeps me feeling young, doing 130 shows a year. I would never even think of retiring. Physically, if something happens where I can't play anymore or if something happens where I lose my edge, then I would think about it. Then I wouldn't be giving the audience everything I've got. Right now, I'm at the top of my game right now."
"Paranormal" will be released on July 28 via earMUSIC.